Life, as we know it today, is characterized by a set of biophysical properties that include the ability to grow, divide and replicate, and evolve in complexity via selection and distinction. From a chemical perspective, such processes are realized by chemical reactions and assembly processes that turnover reactants, and this turnover is driven by the supply of mass and energy. From a theoretical perspective, this supply maintains the system away from thermodynamic equilibrium leading to continuous fluxes of energy and mass, even in the stationary state of the system. To engineer living systems or specific life-like processes, unified approaches are necessary that incorporate concepts from biophysics, system chemistry, and theoretical physics.
This workshop aims to bring together scientists from these three fields to discuss the current challenges to engineering life-like processes. The workshop will provide a collaborative environment that includes plenary talks on the question “What is life?” and the related challenges to engineering it. Moreover, there will be sessions with interactive short talks and brainstorming sessions with plenty of time to freely gather and develop novel approaches to how to engineer life.